Back pain — particularly in your lower back — is a common symptom. The pain can range from dull and aching to sharp and stabbing. Back pain can be due to an acute injury or a chronic condition that causes consistent discomfort.
Pain can lead to dizziness. Dizziness is a condition that can cause you to feel like the room is spinning. Like back pain, dizziness is a common complaint.
Dizziness can lead to many sensations in addition to that of a spinning room. You may feel light-headed, as if you’re floating or might pass out. Or you might be unable to maintain your balance. Each symptom is associated with several causes.
Back pain also can have numerous causes. Your back is responsible for lifting, twisting, supporting, and absorbing shock to your body. These functions open up many possibilities for injury to occur. The delicate bones along your spinal column contain the nerves of your spinal cord. A bone or a supportive disk that slips out of place can put pressure on your nerves, leading to pain.
In rare instances, back pain and dizziness can signal a severe condition, such as a stroke or brain hemorrhage. If you experience double vision, slurred speech, numbness, and severe balance issues, these could be signs of a medical emergency.
If you experience back pain and dizziness during a blood transfusion, these can be symptoms of a severe transfusion reaction. Immediately notify your medical provider.
Here are 11 possible causes of back pain and dizziness.
On average, a full-term pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. There are many factors that can affect a pregnancy. Women who receive an early diagnosis and prenatal care are more likely to experience a healthy pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby. Read more about pregnancy.
Endometriosis is a disorder in which the tissue that forms the lining of your uterus grows outside of your uterine cavity. The lining of your uterus is called the endometrium. Read more about endometriosis.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. It’s also known as degenerative joint disease, degenerative arthritis, or wear-and-tear arthritis. Read more about osteoarthritis.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term or chronic disorder. It’s associated with widespread pain in the muscles and bones, areas of tenderness, and general fatigue. Read more about the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Sciatica is a sensation that can manifest as a moderate to severe pain in your back, buttocks, and legs. You may also feel weakness or numbness in these areas. Read more about sciatica.
Whiplash occurs when a person’s head moves backward and then forward suddenly with great force. This injury is most common following a rear-end car collision. Read more about causes of whiplash.
In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg does not attach to the uterus. Instead, it may attach to the fallopian tube, abdominal cavity, or cervix. Read more about ectopic pregnancy.
Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) refers to bleeding within the subarachnoid space, which is the area between the brain and the tissues that cover the brain. Read more about subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Brain tissue loses oxygen when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds or if there’s a blockage in the blood supply to the brain. Brain cells and tissue begin to die within minutes, which causes a stroke. Read more about symptoms of a stroke.
The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the human body. The walls of the aorta can swell or bulge out like a small balloon if they become weak. This is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) when it happens in the part of the aorta that’s in your abdomen. Read more about abdominal aortic aneurysm.
An ABO incompatibility reaction can occur if you receive the wrong type of blood during a blood transfusion. It’s a rare but serious and potentially fatal response to incompatible blood by your immune system. Read more about ABO incompatibility reaction.
Call 911 or have someone drive you to an emergency room if you suspect you may be experiencing a stroke or heart attack. Additional symptoms include confusion, chest pain, and loss of control on one side of your body. Intense back pain and dizziness that results in a loss of sensation to your legs is also a medical emergency.
Notify your doctor immediately if:
- your back pain and dizziness don’t resolve with home care after three days
- you experience hearing loss or worsening symptoms
- you experience back pain and dizziness while you’re receiving a blood transfusion
Seek medical attention or contact your doctor immediately if you experience back pain and dizziness after taking a new medication.
Treatments for back pain and dizziness are dependent upon the cause. Rest after injury can often help reduce back pain. Physical therapy exercises to stretch and strengthen your back may help decrease dizziness related to intense pain.
In some instances, your symptoms may require more significant interventions, such as injections to relieve pain and surgery to reduce nerve compression. Your doctor can prescribe medications to reduce dizziness. Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and meclizine (Antivert), also may help treat dizziness.
If your back pain and dizziness are related to an injury, resting and icing your back can help ease pain and inflammation. Always keep the ice covered with a cloth. Leave it on for no more than 10 minutes at a time to prevent injuring your skin.
You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Naprosyn) to reduce your back pain.
Practicing careful lifting techniques when moving heavy objects can help prevent acute back injuries. Exercising regularly can keep your back flexible and strong, which reduces your injury risk.
Maintaining a healthy weight also can reduce back pain. Added weight puts extra stress on your body, which can lead to pain. Being overweight also increases your risk for a cardiovascular event, such as stroke or heart attack.
Smoking can also affect your spine, leading to back problems earlier in life. If you smoke, quitting can improve your health in a number of ways.